[WATCH] Police break down trapping hide’s door after poacher locks himself in

‘Close your eyes or close trapping season,’ CABS tells minister

Illegal bird trapping of protected species has exploded since the government opened the legal season for the capture of Song Thrush and Golden Plover, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) said today. 

In the last three days CABS teams monitoring the countryside on Malta filmed and reported dozens cases of severe abuse to the police. 

“These included trapping of protected Greenfinches, Siskins, Hawfinches, Chaffinches and Ring Ouzels as well as trapping on unregistred sites and the use of illegal bird callers. Illegal finch trapping was recorded in Qrendi, Zurrieq, Santa Katarina, Fomm ir-Rih, Mtahleb, Ta’ Baldu and close to the temples in Ħaġar Qim with a total of 10 poachers being investigated by the police and more than 50 protected birds being seized as corpus delicti,” CABS spokesperson Axel Hirschfield said. 

A video which was uploaded to the CABS Facebook-page shows the poachers being caught in the act, some of them panicking when realising that their illegal activity was being recorded. 

The footage also documents how police officers had to break the door of a trapping hide after a poacher locked himself inside in a desperate attempt to hide from the police. 

CABS said that although it was expected that some trappers would continue to target protected birds its members were shocked to see how widespread the problem has become since the government opened the legal season last Saturday. 

“Using an intelligence-led approach we are prioritising the cases we are investigating due to the sheer volume of recorded incidents,” Hirschfeld said, adding that his organisation had only two teams in the field and did not sent any observers to Gozo yet. 

CABS said Animal Rights Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri’s appeal to trappers from last week to follow the rules obviously fell on deaf ears with illegalities being at an all-time high for autumn. “Mr Camilleri has two options now. He can continue to close his eyes to the reality or meet his obligations and close the season,” Hirschfeld said.